Four Indian Biker Queens Rode Through 10 Countries To Promote Female Empowerment


What do you do when you are passionate about the education of the girl child and feel there needs to be more advocacy and awareness in a number of countries on this topic? Get your girlfriends and ride motorbikes for 10,000 km across 10 countries to promote the need for more female empowerment in the developing world, of course!

That is exactly what 4 women from Gujurat, India have just done. Known as the Biking Queens, the group was founded by Dr. Sarika J. Mehta who is also a panelist for the American Psychological Association. Joining her on the trek were Khyati N. Desai, Yugma J. Desai, and Durriya M. Tapia. The quartet visited Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore in 39 days, promoting the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign spearheaded by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government.

The journey was supporting by the WHO and the Indian Government which was particularly focused on spreading the message about the need for education among children. As they met with various people across the 10 nations, the 4 women also spoke about issues such as female feticide, gender equality and financial welfare measures to support women.

According to the, the baby female-to-male ratio has been dropping, partly because of female foeticide. In 2001, there were 927 girls to 1,000 boys; in 2011, the figure fell to 919 girls. Baby girls are aborted in large numbers simply due to being female, as gender discrimination still looms large across India, despite the country being the largest democracy in the world.


“We had to ride in various different terrains in all the countries which included terrible mountains of Bhutan, risky forest terrain of Nagaland, shaky bridges in Myanmar. We also had trouble at the borders while entering Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore because of changed policies and the government there. It was really exhausting for all of us, but we managed it all owing to our strong will power and the blessings of many from our country and abroad,” said Dr. Sarika in a statement to

Yugma Desai said the group managed to set a few records on their journey.

“With 500 people waving the checkered flags for 10 minutes continuously during the flag off ceremony on June 4 in Surat, we have bagged a Guinness World Record of Most People Waving Checkered Flags. Also the record for First Female Bikers to cover 10 Countries, certified by the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records. We attempted for these records so that the people of the world get to know about the campaign we were propogating,” she said.

At each stop along the way, the bikers met with local governments, women’s rights organizations and donated materials to under-served children in the area.

“Many societies view girls as a burden, but they are not. We need to educate young women and teach them they are not a burden and can live on their own,” said Dr. Sarika.


She told that this 10-nation journey was only one of the many things they plan to do with their mission to help girls and women in developing countries across Asia. They plan to return to many of the places they visited and stay longer to get involved in helping launch social projects.

The women received a lot of support for what they were doing, but some did not believe they were able to ride across treacherous terrain or handle big motorbikes. It is an interesting coincidence that they not only had to prove any naysayers wrong, but also know that it was part of their greater overall mission to show traditional conservative societies that women and girls are indeed capable of doing and being anything they want to be.

“My friends said the bikes are fun but female riders would have trouble with such heavy vehicles. I thought that there was nothing women couldn’t do, so I said, ‘Fine, let’s try it, why not?'” said Dr. Sarika.

“Throughout the ride, I wanted to give a message of passion to women and force them out of their comfort zone. If they can get out of their shell, they can do wonders in life,” she added.

“There were times when we were stuck at the treacherous roads and our GPS stopped working, but we knew we would be safe. PM Modi gave us the responsibility to spread his message in May and we feel very happy and honored to have done it successfully,” said Durriya M. Tapia.


The Biking Queens are certainly not alone in their mission to improve the lives of women and girls and spread the message of female empowerment. The Telegraph reports that since the brutal 2012 gang rape of a young woman in Delhi which sparked outrage among Indians as well as the rest of the world in regard to the rate of gender-based violence that often goes unnoticed or is seen as “common”, there have been a number of all-female biker groups riding for the same purpose.

“Riding a motorbike – in a country where women are often told to stay within four walls, or be accompanied by a male member of the family when out, on the pretext of their safety – may seem like a far-fetched idea. But the trend is fast catching on,” writes Shaifali Agrawal.

The Better India website, a news destination that reports on positive stories, listed 8 groups including the Biking Queens who are ” breaking gender stereotypes and taking on the open road”.

While it is important for all levels of government and law enforcement to acknowledge systemic and social problems that perpetuate gender inequality, seeing women like the Biking Queens who are disrupting social norms and raising awareness in their own way is a powerful method of spreading this message community by community. To see more of what the Biking Queens are doing, you can follow their journey and their advocacy on their Facebook Page.





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